Friday, January 27, 2012

Where's James Parker?

On October 6, 1857 in Lawrence County, Missouri, Mary Catherine (Burton) Parker and her father Samuel M Burton and her brother E(benezer) D(ale) Burton initiated the probate process for the estate of James Parker, deceased.  (Below are copies of the documents I received from the probate file out of Lawrence County, Missouri.)

Unfortunately, I have not been able to locate any additional information regarding James' death or location of his burial.  With only his marriage and probate records to go on, I have no information regarding his age at the time of his marriage or his death from which to calculate a birth date.

I recently have found a family tree submitted to FamilySearch by a Bette Vermillion that speculated that James may have been born about 1830 in Smith County, TN, but I have no contact information to reach her for further information.  And another researcher that I've communicated with about ten years ago (Jan Lopez, who was researching the Vermillion family -- who married Catherine after James death) posted a query in 2008 in the Springfield Missouri "Leader" newspaper which indicated James Parker was "killed in about 1857 supposedly by bushwackers". Unfortunatley I've not been able to reach her by any of the email addresses I have currently to find what her source for this information may have been (though I speculate it was "family lore"). ;o)

After 20+ years of research ... my Parker line has hit the proverbial BRICKWALL I'm afraid.  Lawrence County, Missouri was formed in 1845 but did not keep any death records until about 1883, so I have given up hope of finding a death record in the county records.  I have not been able to locate a grave listing on any online database so far, and I have not been able to find a listing for any newspaper publication at the Missouri State Archives that would have been published in or near Lawrence County in 1856 or 1857 that might list a news article or notice of death.

At this point, I think I need to seriously consider participating in a DNA surname study and see if we connect with any of the Parker lines already in the study.  Hopefully we will connect with a Parker line that can trace its roots back further and then I can try to backtrack down the line of descendants.

Probate File for James Parker
Lawrence County, Missouri
Filed October 6, 1857

KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS That Mary Catherine Parker as principal and Samuel M Burton and ED Burton securities are held and firmly bound unto the State of Missouri in the sum of three hundred dollars which sum well and truly to be made, we bind ourselves, our heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, firmly, jointly and severally by these presents, signed with our hands and sealed with our seals, and dated this 6th day of October 1857.

The condition of the above bond is, that if Mary Catherine Parker administratix of the estate of James Parker, deceased, shall faithfully administer said estate, account for, pay and deliver all money and property of said estate, and perform all other things touching said administration required by law, or the order or decree of any said court having jurisdiction, then the above bond to be void, otherwise to remain in full force.

Signed sealed and acknowledged  and approved by me in vocation this 6th day of October 1857. 

Wm W Gay, Clerk

Mary Catherine (X -- her mark) Parker  {SEAL}
Samuel M Burton {SEAL}
E.D. Burton {SEAL}


State of Missouri      )
County of Lawrence )

In the matter of James Parker's estate

Mary Catherine Parker says that, to the best of her knowledge and belief the names of the heirs of the said James Parker, deceased and their places of residence, are respectively as follows.  Samuel M Parker, Sarah Elizabeth Parker and Goodman Brown Parker.  All of whom reside in the County of Lawrence in the STate of Missouri, that the said James Parker died without a will, that she will make a perfect inventory of and faithfully administer all the estate of the deceased, and pay the debts as far as the assets will extend and the law direct, and account for and pay all assets which shall come to her possession or knowledge.

Mary Catharine (X - her mark) Parker

Subscribed and sworn to before me this 6th day of October 1857.
Wm W Gay, Clerk

I'm not going to transcribe these next documents at this time, but they relate to the inventory of assets declared by Mary Catherine Parker, and the last two are certificates showing the appraised value of the assets, totaling $132.25 in 1857 (which would be equal to a little over $3000 in assets as of 2010). 

I have not found any record of land being purchased by James Parker in Lawrence County, MO.  And since his father-in-law and brother-in-law are listed in his probate file (rather than any Parker relative), I am of the belief that James and Catherine likely lived with her parents after marriage, and also when they moved to Missouri.  Chances are none of his Parker relatives moved with him to Lawrence County, MO (meaning if he had sibilings they likely remained in Tennessee).  I'm beginning to think James was an orphan ... and had no relationship with his parents or siblings (if any) at the time he met and married Mary Catherine Burton.  I guess only time will tell if I can successfully break down this brickwall.

Until then ...

Love and Aloha,
Cuzn Amy

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